Northern Michigan University offers a degree program related to marijuana. According to the school’s website, there is a “major gap in educational opportunities available to prepare people for this field.” Students at the university can opt for the “Medicinal Plant Chemistry” undergraduate major, which has subjects that include the business and chemistry of marijuana. These subjects include organic chemistry, plant physiology, botany, accounting, genetics, physical geography, and financial management. At the end of the course, graduating students are ready for careers in marijuana research or to open their own marijuana-related business ventures.
As states legalize marijuana, the business opportunities multiply. Research firm Cowen & Co. estimated that the weed market will be worth $75 billion by 2030. That will mean new jobs in businesses comprising a wide array of positions, from customer success to business development reps to chemists, botanists, and finance-related jobs. An applicant intimate with the industry’s nuances will be a natural fit for these positions.
Where Can You Learn About Marijuana?
More than anything else, the marijuana industry is a business opportunity. A change in public attitudes regarding the industry led to a growing realization about the numerous commercial and medicinal benefits of marijuana. For instance, cannabis is being used in trials to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for soldiers returning from war. That is in addition to the plant’s already prevalent uses as a medicine.
For example, a degree in horticulture makes professionals knowledgeable about marijuana cultivation. Similarly, a business degree can also prepare students for careers in the industry. Realizing the industry’s potential, even the prestigious Yale School of Management has jumped into the fray. In February of 2018, the Ivy League university’s business school held a conference to “discuss the opportunities and challenges of legal cannabis.”
Why Does the Marijuana Industry Need Professionals?
The marijuana industry is becoming increasingly respectable and creating high-paying jobs in the process. Cannabis consultants, dispensary operators, cannabis extraction technicians, grow masters, and marijuana chefs all have the potential to earn significant amounts.
When you’re done, though, CNBC reports that you could score a job in the cannabis business making $70,000 a year right out of school. With that said, if you’d rather keep your options open while still creating an inroad to the marijuana sector, other ways to go include …
All of this feeds into the case for decriminalization or legalization. At the time of writing, recreational marijuana is fully legal in nine states and the District of Columbia. It’s also legal for medicinal purposes in an additional 25 states.
The chemistry underlying the properties and benefits of marijuana is complex, some of which we are only beginning to understand today. For instance, growing evidence reveals cannabinoids might interact positively with natural cannabinoid receptors in the human body to slow tumor growth and kill cancer cells. This amazing possibility is just one of many chemistry-specific considerations that drive scientific interest in cannabis. Hypotheses and questions abound regarding the impacts — both positive and negative — of chemical elements in marijuana, such as THC and CBD; the empirical basis behind the proclaimed dangers or benefits of usage; and the soil, water, and environmental conditions that best facilitate cultivation. Study the chemistry of the human body, the environment, and marijuana itself, and work toward a career as a technician, scientist, or researcher for one of the many think tanks, healthcare facilities, universities, or corporations now invested in cannabis.
4. Health Care
Indeed, the future of legal marijuana in the U.S. is so bright, you’ve gotta wear shades. According to the investment bank Cowen & Co., the legal weed market will be worth something in the range of $75 billion by 2030.
But as John Boehner explains, “Over the last 10 or 15 years, the American people’s attitudes have changed dramatically. I find myself in that same position.”
So, what should you major be for a career in cannabis?
The Best Marijuana Degrees
Biology is the study of living organisms and the ecology around them. This includes the study of plant life and the opportunity for a focus in botany, horticulture, genetics, environmental quality, and anything else that might help you synthesize the next great hybrid strain of marijuana. You’ll also learn about the human body, anatomy, physiology, and pathology, which can provide insight into the medicinal applications of marijuana as well as the science underlying its qualities as an intoxicant.
The biggest argument in favor of decriminalization is the array of potential medical benefits of marijuana therapy. According to WebMD, active chemicals in marijuana called cannabinoids are similar to chemicals occurring naturally in the body. These natural chemicals are connected to appetite, memory, movement, and pain. This is likely why marijuana therapy helps improve appetite and reduce nausea or vomiting in chemotherapy patients, suppresses the muscle spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis, and helps individuals manage many day-to-day health challenges, including chronic pain, anxiety, insomnia, and a wide range of digestive issues. All of this amounts to a wide and expanding field of marijuana-based medical research, therapy, and treatment. Your degree in health care could provide a pathway to advancing opportunities for wellness through medical marijuana, whether as a nurse, a practicing physician, the administrator of a healthcare facility, or as a researcher.